95% Social Contact 5% Technology
We may be living in the digital age but that doesn’t mean we should lose the value of social contact.
This is especially critical for business relations and customer service. It’s true that technology makes our lives and our work easier, but we’d all do well to remember that it is simply an enabler. No matter how “wired” you are, nothing beats social contact when it comes to shoring up relationships.
What do I mean by social contact? I mean back and forth communication, rather than a one-sided or automated discussion. For example, the difference between an e-newsletter that doesn’t invite a response from your customers, and one that does.
The good news is that you can actually use the enabling power of technology to enhance your social contact.
Let’s continue with this e-newsletter thread. Any business can send one out, and many do. The difference between those that have social contact skills and those that don’t is the distinction between better business and wasted effort on ignored marketing.
When you think about your business and how you communicate with your customers, you need to think about how to best set up your communication channels. Use technology to enable better sharing of and engagement with information. Build a community among your customers.
So, in the case of the e-newsletter, think about how to engage your readers. Ask them a question, or ask them for feedback. Start a conversation and be responsive.
Even better, focus on the channels of communication that aren’t mediated by technology! Encourage customers to drop into your business premises for a face to face chat.
The same principle applies to working relationships. Email is great but impersonal. Informal channels (such as the lunch room, the coffee machine, general chatting about the office, etc) are where valuable communication happens and where solid working relationships are built. Again, foster a community atmosphere with your own employees. You’ll reap positive, quality sharing of information from these modes of social contact.
Technology can support and enhance these channels, but it shouldn’t overtake them. That’s why I say 95% social contact and 5% technology. It’s an imbalance worth having.